RELS 290 Banned Books: Introduction to the New Testament Apocrypha

The modern-day New Testament contains only a portion of the literature (i.e. gospels acts epistles and apocalypses) written by early Christians. This course will provide students the opportunity to study many of the texts that were not included in the Christian canon: the so-called apocrypha." We will investigate the process by which the Christian canon was formed how and why some texts that were beloved by many ordinary Christians were excluded from the canon by church officials and how the ideological and theological positions found in the rejected texts give us a lens into some of the most heated debates in early Christian communities. In addition to surveying apocryphal texts and their early Christian contexts the major assignment of the course will be to collaborate with Prof. Upson-Saia on her current research project: a study of how ideas found in the New Testament Apocrypha persist in Catholic tradition-specifically in Catholic doctrine art and liturgy-even though the texts themselves were excluded from the Christian Bible." Open to Juniors and Seniors.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Pre-1800
  • Regional Focus